Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spinal Decompression Or Back Surgery, Which Is A Better Option? Considering a back surgery in NYC?

Spinal Decompression Or Back Surgery, Which Is A Better Option?

Comments by NYC Chiropractor Dr.Steven Shoshany D.C.,C.C.E.P. at the end of the article

Credits| Author: Dr. Ronald Fielden with Dr. George Best
by Dr. Michael Golab with Dr. George Best

For people with severe disc-related back pain and sciatica, long-term relief can be hard to come by and the treatment options often come down to spinal decompression or back surgery. Each treatment option has its pros and cons, but in the end, the best option will depend on a variety of factors that are unique to each case.

There are some misconceptions about both spinal decompression and surgery that can lead to confusion when attempting to determine the best treatment option, especially when pain or medication may be disrupting the ability to think clearly. The following information will help to dispel some of the misconceptions regarding these forms of treatment and will assist pain sufferers in selecting which option is best for their circumstances.

Although spinal decompression is a kind of traction, the effects of spinal decompression vary considerably from those of regular traction. True spinal decompression systems utilize computer controlled motors that can “fool” the muscles along the spine into staying relaxed during the treatment session. This allows for a suction effect inside the spinal disc being treated, which pulls bulging disc material back into the disc and also pulls in fluid and nutrients that help the disc to recover and heal. Since ordinary traction machines must contend with muscular resistance, their effects on the discs are much less and traction typically does not provide long-term improvements in disc health, nor lasting elimination of pain.

Although spinal decompression is extremely effective in the vast majority of disc-pain cases, it does not work in every case, and their are situations in which it cannot be safely applied. From my experience in my San Antonio Spinal Decompression office, I have found that decompression is not usually effective in cases of large disc extrusions (when large amounts of the inner gel of the disc breach the disc wall). In addition, spinal decompression cannot be safely used when there is substantial ligamentous instability in the spine because the stretching effect of the decompression would tend to make such instability worse. In cases where spinal decompression is not appropriate, surgery is indicated as really the only option for getting long term relief for the patient.

Although it may be the best option in a small number of disc-pain cases, back surgery is far from being an ideal solution. Patients sometimes have the impression that a back surgery will completely solve their back pain once and for all, but this is rarely the case. In fact, one of the leading predictors that someone will eventually need back surgery in the future is having had back surgery in the past. Although aggressive surgical techniques that involve removing a problematic disc will guarantee that a patient will not have any trouble with that particular disc again, these surgeries create other problems that over time can make things even worse than the original problem.

Post-surgical scar tissue and increased wear and tear on adjacent discs can conspire to create new areas of spinal cord and/or spinal nerve compression months or years after spinal surgery. Due to the high probability of these post-surgical complications, it is my opinion that surgery should always be considered a last option when all other treatments have either failed or cannot be used due to existing contraindications.

I have always told patients that surgery should be a last resort when all non-surgical methods have failed.
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